Medical Tales (And Facts!) Of The Unexpected!!

By By Prof. Femi Adelowo   |   07 May 2010   |   10:00 pm  

Observations among animals such as zebrafish and flat worms show that they can regenerate on their own. This is applicable to not only the bones but also to blood vessels, nerve cells and heart muscles. Scientists have identified the particular protein involved in this as a protein called Wnt proteins. In a study by some medical researchers and as reported in the April issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine, they have used this protein to mend bone injuries and fracture in mice. A randomized control trial showed that mice with this protein in their tissues showed 3.5 times more new bone formation than those without!! You may say with tongue in cheek that ‘well, it is ok to let mice have this protein, but not human beings!’ The reality of science and medicine is that most innovations and new drugs arise from animal experiments!! There is thus optimism that this finding will translate to human success and help with bone injury and trauma. Okada operators, be on the lookout!!


The bone strengthening drug Zoledronic Acid ( Zometa) may reduce the spread of breast cancer by preventing bone loss due from chemotherapy

Normally, tumour cells released from breast cancer often move to the bones and spread from there to other areas of the body. It appears that drugs used in treating the cancer results in increased breakdown of bones which in turn can release certain chemicals called bone derived growth factors. These chemicals in turn extend to the breasts and speed up the growth and division of these tumour cells!! How wicked!

In a report of the online March 31 issue of the international authoritative journal The Lancet Oncology, medical researchers at Washington University School, USA included 120 women undergoing treatment for locally advanced breast cancer. Some of the patients received the active drug, Zoledronic Acid along with their cancer drugs while others only had their cancer drugs without Zoledronic acid.

After three months of treatment, women who received Zoledronic acid and chemotherapy had fewer detectable tumour cells than those who received chemotherapy only.

The researchers also found out that the drug prevented chemotherapy bone loss.


Mammograms, x-ray investigation of breasts, are generally known to be sensitive in detecting breast cancer and other, breast lumps.

However, recent studies may indicate that this investigation may not be useful in women aged 40 years or less.

They concluded that mammograms in this age may result in many return visits for follow up screenings which may not turn up cancer cells. This is published in online May 3 issue of Journal of the National Cancer Institute


Although, one to two alcoholic drinks a day have been said to be safe and beneficial for health, this habit may however put persons 60 years and above at risks of certain health problems such as gout, hepatitis, or nausea. It may also put at risk, such persons on concurrent medications such as sedatives and anti- depressants. These findings were published on line in the Journal of General Internal Medicine


Four unhealthy behaviours have been linked to premature deaths!! This is particularly so when a person has combined honours of all the four! These behaviours are- SMOKING; SUBSTANTIAL ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION; NOT EXERCISING; NOT EATING FRUITS AND VEGETABLES!!

In a study published in the April 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, 4,886 persons aged 18 and above were first interviewed in 1984-1985. They were then followed up by telephony or direct contact over the following 20 years. During review after this period, there were 1,080 deaths among the study group. Out of these deaths, 431 were due to diseases of the heart such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure. 318 deaths were from different cancers while 331 were attributable to other causes

Compared with those with no bad health habits, those with all four unhealthy habits were three times more likely to die from either heart diseases or cancer; four times more likely to die from other causes!!. They are also likely to age 12 years more than those with healthy behaviours!!


Mediterranean diet emphasises vegetables, fruits, beans, olive oil and seeds.Medical researchers have shown data indicating that adults aged 65 years or more tend to improve recall times and cognitive skills such as identifying symbols and numbers when they take such diet.

This study by workers at Rush University Medical Centre, Chicago, USA and released by the American Society of Nutrition involved 4,000 adults aged 65 years and more. Tests to assess cognitive skills were carried out over a 15-year period.

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